Tuesday, August 25, 2015

RECIPES FOR A CHEAPSKATE: Lasagna


God has given us an abundance of tomatoes this year, the challenge is to use them all.

This week, it's everybody in the pool as I make a sauce for my lasagna. I have four hybrid, 1/2 heirloom, and about a dozen cherry tomatoes leftover from last week's harvest that I need to use before they go bad.



First step, chop them all up into cubes. The cherry tomatoes will just be cut in half like I did with my pizza sauce a few weeks ago.



As I dice, they all go into a bowl, awaiting their fate.  A tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of a sauce pan is getting hot in the meantime, where I saute half an onion chopped up in a food processor.

Once the onions are translucent, the tomatoes join them along with half a cup of water, half a teaspoon of sugar, teaspoon of salt, a generous sprinkling of pepper, half a teaspoon of minced garlic, and another half teaspoon of oregano.



I bring to a boil, stirring, for ten minutes and then let simmer on low for a little over an hour.



When done, the sauce looks like this.



Next, I fry up a pound of Italian sausage and cook some lasagna noodles in boiling water for about eight minutes until slightly soft (al dente).



I oil up a baking pan with olive oil, lay in two strips of the lasagna noodles, and start to create layers. One layer may be sauce with sausage and parmesan cheese, the next sauce and ricotta cheese, the next sauce, cream, and mozzarella...it's up to you, whatever you want to put in.



Finished, I top with a generous layer of mozzarella to have a nice, melty layer of cheese on top.


375 degrees for 45 minutes, covered with foil. Remove the foil and cook for another 20 minutes. Take out and let cool for 10 minutes.

Serve and enjoy.

Darryl
Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hot Time in the Garden


The biggest chore I had this week was deadheading the roses but the temp is 110 and climbing. I expect it'll hit 115 before the day is over.

Just too hot, so I'm just fertilizing and check the progress of the crops.


These tomatoes have weighed down their part of the vine so that they're resting on the soil. I don't want them there where the worms and other insects can get to them.


Gingerly, so I don't break their branch, I lift them up and rest them on the neighboring hot chile's cage. Now, they're about a foot off of the ground.


Something's already got this green heirloom, so I picked it off and threw away. Nothing else seems to be affected right now.


Except this little zucchini plant. It's hard to see in this picture but something has been digging at it's roots and the plant is a bit wilted from it.


Across the path, it's sibling is finally producing some fruit. Homegrown zucchini on the way.


This pasilla chile has three fruit that should be ready in about three weeks and will feed the three of us with the tastiest peppers in the garden. A lot of trios in that paragraph and there's also about 40 more chiles on the plant in the earliest stages of ripening.  Can't wait.


Finally, although most of our crops are in between harvests right now, I got one good heirloom tomato, one hybrid tomato, and a nice little Anaheim chile to go with a good harvest we already got last week.

Darryl
Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

We Eat What We Grow and Grow What We Eat...at least a good portion of it


At the certified farmers markets around here, it's a law that the vendors have to grow what they sell. You'll see banners at each booth with the name of the farm, the city or town where they're from, and the slogan "We Grow What We Sell."

I found out it is also a law that those banners appears at each booth and the agricultural inspector will write you a fine if you don't.

No such law in our backyard garden but I assure you we try to make the best of our harvest.  Each year, we'll have some winners and some losers. Last year, the losers almost completely took over but we did have a few bright spots. 

This year, the tomatoes are pumping out so much fruit, it's hard to even think about losers right now. We are having a record tomato season, my friends.

I've given some surplus away but I'm trying to eat as much as we can, too.


The heirloom tomato vine (pic at top) is slowly producing but when it does, the fruit is spectacular.


This giant globe, we sliced up.


Then we put it on roast beef sandwiches...it almost looks like another kind of very rare cold cut.


We served with chips and some pico de gallo that I made with some other tomatoes from the garden and homegrown chiles. Delicious!  The rest, I am using for a lasagna sauce for another recipe post later.

Darryl
Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, August 6, 2015

MacGyvering the Garden


We call my wife Momgyver because she's always coming up with little solutions for problems that pop up. Today, I did a little Dadgyvering in the garden.

Inspecting my spray patterns, I noticed that the water was going right over the top of my onion plant. I tried to get the leaves of that bougainvillea to cover the sprayer but it would not stay there.



No problem, I got this little fly swatter someone gave us that is completely useless for killing flies but it makes a great screen to catch the water and direct it to the onion's roots.



Also, easy propagation...



When a branch breaks off the plumeria, instead of throwing in in the green waste can...



...just stick it in the ground or a pot.



After filling with potting soil, I stick the branch in.



Watered in, it will soon sprout and become a new plant.





Darryl
Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Weighty Harvest Indeed


There are so many tomatoes on our plant that it is weighing it down and blocking my son's access on our path. It's in a cage but the cage is no match for this vigorously growing plant that's full of fruit. 

What a wonderful problem to have! Let's see what I can do.



I take a couple of stakes, push the cage up against the wall as hard as I can, and pound the stakes through the cage and plant to hold it up to the wall as best I can.



Eh, it's not perfect but at least it clears up a bit of the path.



It also helps to pick off some of that fruit that's weighing it down.



I'll also get some chiles and cherry tomatoes while I'm out here.



And the basket holding today's harvest looks like this.




Darryl
Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Monday, July 27, 2015

RECIPES FOR A CHEAPSKATE: Cherry Tomato Pie


I've been blessed with a lot of cherry tomatoes so I'm going to use them. I picked sixteen off of the plant today.

I'm going to make a cherry tomato/bacon pizza pie with them.



First, I slice each one in half.



Then marinated in olive oil for a day.



With a can of San Marzano tomatoes, some salt, garlic, and oregano (also from the garden), I boiled it for 20 minutes, then simmered for 2 hours.  Near the end, we added a teaspoon of sugar.



I was going to buy a premade pizza dough from our local Italian deli but my wife insisted on making a homemade dough.  Also, my son insisted on pepperoni on top, so what started as a tomato pie ended up being a pizza with a really delicious, fresh tasting sauce.




Darryl
Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Harvest is Almost Among Us


I picked 16 cherry tomatoes this morning that I'll use for a pizza. This regular hybrid tomato is showing its colors. Harvesting will be commencing very soon for these beauties.


The dragon fruit is about to bloom with this flower...


...this one...


and this one.  Hopefully, that's just the beginning.


The tomatoes and oranges were starting to block the walkway so I cut them back to make a path.



Darryl
Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved